This is Science Today. Inadequate treatment of surgical
pain is fairly common because hospitals are often
wary of overdoing pain medication - especially opiodes.
Dr. David Sessler, a professor of anesthesia at the
University of California, San Francisco, says this
is due to the fear of complications, such as respiratory
depression, but there's also a concern about addiction.
Addiction is very rarely a problem. Especially with
acute pain. It becomes more of an issue with chronic
pain, but for acute, surgical pain, there's overwhelming
evidence that you can use as much opiode, as much
narcotic as necessary, to treat the pain and that
people will not become addicted.
Sessler discovered sufficient pain control after surgery
led to a reduction in the risk of infection. This
gives physicians all the more reason to not hold back.
People who have pain should be treated and they should
be treated even if it's so-called minor pain off in
a physician's office or a hospital laboratory. Even
that pain deserves to be treated.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.